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  • 26 Jun

  • JCRC Applauds Legislature for Progress of Act to Aid Building Community Resiliency

    H.1985/S.1244, An act building community resiliency through mental health received favorable report

    Last week, H.1985/S.1244, An act building community resiliency through mental health received a favorable report advancing to the Committee on Ways and Means. We celebrate the progress of this bill, newly filed this legislative session by State Representative Brandy Fluker Oakley (D-Mattapan) and State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro).

    H.1985/S.1244 has received two favorable reports–one from the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery and the other from the Committee on Healthcare Financing. This bill is one of the recommended policy interventions supported by the Massachusetts Hate Crimes Task Force.

    “I am excited about the progress being made on the mental health capacity grant program, which aims to support people who experience hate crimes,” said Representative Fluker Oakley (D-Mattapan). “This initiative is a crucial step toward improving behavioral health expertise and expanding essential programs, paving the way for a more resilient and inclusive community.”

    This act creates capacity grants for nonprofits to better support vulnerable communities at high risk of hate crimes and mitigate the negative impacts of rising hate, especially as the state has witnessed extreme spikes in hate incidents this year. The grants would help increase behavioral health competency of staff who have frequent interactions with targeted communities and to expand supportive programming to those populations. Grants could be used to support programming determined by an organization’s specific needs to address mental health, such as mental health first aid training, culturally responsive referral programs, community education and de-stigmatization of mental health supports, and any other programming shown to effectively impact positive mental health.

    “We have done tremendous work in the Commonwealth to reduce stigma and affirm that mental health is as important as physical health,” said Senator Cyr. “This legislation further supports those efforts by helping to reduce the stress and isolation of vulnerable communities.”

    The Jewish Community Relations Council is proud to play a leading role in crafting and advocating for legislation and policy that increases people’s ability to live self-determined lives with safety and meaning.

    “We thank our lead sponsors and the legislature for their commitment to protecting vulnerable communities as well as the support of the diverse community organizations that regard this legislation as a meaningful harm reduction tool for diverse communities across the Commonwealth,” said FayeRuth Fisher, Chief of Public Affairs and Community Relations.